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Mutat Res. 2010 Dec;705(3):228-38. doi: 10.1016/j.mrrev.2010.07.002. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Wot the 'L-Does MutL do?

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Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria, PO Box 3055, STN CSC, Victoria, BC, Canada.


In model DNA, A pairs with T, and C with G. However, in vivo, the complementarity of the DNA strands may be disrupted by errors in DNA replication, biochemical modification of bases and recombination. In prokaryotic organisms, mispaired bases are recognized by MutS homologs which, together with MutL homologs, initiate mismatch repair. These same proteins also participate in base excision repair and nucleotide excision repair. In eukaryotes they regulate not just DNA repair but also meiotic recombination, cell-cycle delay and/or apoptosis in response to DNA damage, and hypermutation in immunoglobulin genes. Significantly, the same DNA mismatches that trigger repair in some circumstances trigger non-repair pathways in others. In this review, we argue that mismatch recognition by the MutS proteins is linked to these disparate biological outcomes through regulated interaction of MutL proteins with a wide variety of effector proteins.

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